Alternative route around Angkor Temples
If you want to explore the Angkor Temples without hoards of tourists, here’s our alternative route and timings to get you on your way, from sunrise to sunset . FYI, catching that much sort after sunrise is not for the tired traveler!
1st stop - Srah Srang. 4.40AM. This quiet temple leads out onto ‘the royal bathing pool’ which was used for ritual washings. This expansive reservoir not only guarantees escaping the coach loads of tourists heading to Angkor Wat but also the most rewarding and golden sunrise that reflects across the water only adding to the magic. Head here for 5AM latest to watch the sky turn from night to day.
2nd stop - Ta Prohm Temple, it’s only a short Tuk Tuk journey from Srah Srang. We recommend you head here for 7.30AM when it opens to avoid the crowds and get to explore with only a handful of others. It’s here that Tomb Raider was filmed in 2000 and is now famed for the trees that have grown routes in and around the temple. It’s quite amazing to see, especially at this time of day when the light is streaming through the branches.
3rd stop - Banteay Srei. Often referred to as the the jewel in the crown of all temples. Translates to ‘The Citadel of Women’ and is dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu God. Glowing in the mid-morning sun, the pinkish tones and intricate carvings make this definitely the most beautiful in our eyes. We recommend heading here for 10AM.
4th stop - Pre Rup meaning ‘turn the body’ insinuates that this temple could have been used as an early royal crematorium. We headed to this temple at mid-day to avoid the crowds and it was empty. The temple as lots of hidden spots for great pictures and allows you to roam freely unlike others.
5th stop - Banteay Kdei a peaceful & quiet temple to explore. The temple ruins are a fascinating maze of chambers which is fitting as the names translates to ‘Citadel of Chambers’. Head here for around 1pm to get lost all by yourselves.
6th stop - Bayon Temple. Our favourite temple it must be said. From a distance this place doesn’t look much to behold, yet entering the temple gates and climbing the steps to the top, the temple’s magic comes to life. All 216 gigantic faces across a staggering 54 gothic towers become apparent, resembling Avalokiteshvara, the earthly representation of the eternal Buddha. This temple is NEVER without its tourists, however we visited around 3pm and found quiet spots to ourselves, just just have to seek them out.
7th stop - Angkor Wat for sunset. Often the most sought-after temple to visit and it is breathtaking. We decided to end our journey around the temples here. Watching the sun set and Angkor Wat glow in the golden light was the perfect end to our, somewhat busy, day.
For our tour we used Siem Reap Taxis, they were fantastic. Ran by a guy called Lang, he kindly helped us plan our route allowing us as much time as we liked at each temple. His knowledge of the temples and the history of Angkor is excellent as is his English, we would definitely recommend using him. We wanted to see the best sunrise and enjoy the temples at their quietest and it was his insight that led us to Srah Srang for the most beautiful sunrise. www.siemreaptaxiservice.com or whats app +855 12427540